After six years of the PlayStation 3, Sony has finally announced the PlayStation 4 on Feb. 20 at its PlayStation Meeting in New York. The next-generation home console features an x86 CPU, unified 8GB GDDR5 memory and a new controller — the DualShock 4.
Sony’s decision to use the x86 CPU instead of the cell processor found in the PS3 centers around Sony’s push for creating a developer-friendly environment for the PS4. This decision should entice developers to flock to the PS4 because the x86 CPU is an established and well-developed architecture with which most developers are familiar. Previously with the PS3, the complexities and programming difficulties of the cell processor shunned away many developers.
Many were surprised to see Sony put unified 8GB GDDR5 memory in the PS4. 8GB memory is beyond plenty for a video game system, but the PS4’s unified 8GB GDDR5 memory allows for incredibly fast speeds that many PCs don’t even have today. However, this amount of high bandwidth memory doesn’t come cheap and will surely increase the currently unannounced price of the console.
The DualShock 4 sports a similar design to Sony’s previous PlayStation controllers with a two-point touchpad, headset jack, share button and light bar. Sony chose to keep the look of the controller relatively simple with the touchpad being unobtrusively placed in the middle of the controller, the share button near the directional pad and the light bar in between the bumpers.
The share button on the controller highlights Sony’s focus for players to share videos and stream gameplay; players can now live-stream their gaming sessions or request another player to take control of their game. Sony also announced that PlayStation 4 games would be playable on the PS Vita through the console’s remote play feature. The company has partnered with Ustream and GaiKai to make this all possible.
Sony spent half of the two-hour meeting revealing games for the PS4. The lineup of games they revealed for the console was, however, nothing special. Most games shown were sequels to previous franchises from the PS3 or games already announced; some of these titles include “Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son” and “Diablo III.” Interesting new titles like “Knack, Deep Down” and indie developer Jonathan Blow’s “The Witness” were also shown.
As expected with all video game console unveilings, these games were collectively graphically superior to games of the current generation. “Deep Down” was especially impressive with astonishingly detailed characters, lighting and effects. The graphical leap of most of the games was not as large as previous generational advances though; the graphical advances made during PS1 to the PS2 or the PS2 to the PS3 were far greater.
The lineup was not exactly amazing, but developers haven’t had an extensive amount of time with the PS4. It’s only to be expected that developers would use pre-existing assets to create a game in time for the unveiling of the console.
Sony has created a powerful next generation console that has garnered the attention of developers and players alike. They have also set the bar high for Microsoft’s announcement to its successor to the Xbox 360.
The PlayStation 4 is scheduled for a holiday 2013 release. More information on the system may come during the Game Developers Conference in late March and the Electronic Entertainment Expo in early June.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of April
2nd, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.